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Why This Matters: Hurricane season really gets serious only now, so the worst is still ahead of us. And the revised forecast is a big increase over what had been forecast at the beginning of the season when NOAA said there was a 70% chance of 13 to 19 named storms. Now they have 85% certainty it will be much worse. In fact, they expect that there could be three to six storms that end up as major hurricanes like Maria, Dorian, and Michael, which caused so much destruction and will take billions of dollars to rebuild and years of recovery efforts. More than 100,000 people across 3 states are still without power just from Tropical Storm Isaias, which does not bode well for the rest of the season.
According to NOAA, this year has seen a “record-setting nine named storms so far and has the potential to be one of the busiest on record. Historically, only two named storms form on average by early August, and the ninth named storm typically does not form until October 4.” Why so bad? The ocean is particularly warm in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and the tropical Atlantic trade winds are weak, with reduced wind shears and a stronger West African monsoon season and these conditions are expected to remain in place for several months. NOAA’s lead hurricane prognosticator, Gerry Bell, explained “This year, we expect more, stronger, and longer-lived storms than average, and our predicted ACE range extends well above NOAA’s threshold for an extremely active season.”
Extreme weather intensified by climate change hit the world’s poorest countries hardest in 2019, according to the latest Global Climate Risk Index by environmental organization Germanwatch. Eight of the 10 countries hardest hit by extreme weather since 2000 are poorer nations that haven’t produced the emissions that are now upending weather patterns.
Why this Matters: The emissions causing the climate crisis have mostly been emitted by wealthier nations, which should bear the largest financial responsibility.
Above the North Pole, a polar vortex — a swirling flurry of cold air — could cause weeks of frigid weather in the Eastern United States, Northern Europe, and East Asia according to forecasters. Snow blanketed Spain over the weekend, dumping nearly two feet of snow on Madrid — the most snow in the last 50 years there. Madrid
Why this Matters: While many associate global warming with hotter weather, climate change can also cause harsher, more snowy winters.
This year we shattered the record for the number of named storms over the course of the six months of hurricane season with 30 — we exceeded the previous record by four. There were so many storms that we ran out of names and went deep into the Greek alphabet, which is what happens when we use up all the typical ones.
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